On Saturday April 4th, we arrived back in Chicago (after doing TWO zoos; Louisville and Indianapolis) and ate lasagna at my place before relaxing on this final night of our vacation. We hunkered down for the night and watched two movies together; the old sci-fi classic, It Came from Outer Space, and a new movie David had gotten on Blu-ray called Digging up the Marrow. Though we’d watched several movies during our trip on DVD, including Wolfcop (which was okay), Love in the Time of Monsters (which was also okay), What we do in the Shadows (which was really funny), Animal (which we liked), Dark Haul (which was bad) and Muck (which was even WORSE) we inadvertently saved the best for last!
I am a huge fan of toys; always have been, always will be. Growing up, I always leaned towards toys with a science fiction theme for my hours of playtime fun and some of my favorites were Mego’s Micronauts and the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes 8″ action figure line as well as the original Kenner Star Wars toys. While researching this article, and the toy company REMCO, I found that I also had a lot of what they had to offer back in the day. They may not have been the largest toy-making company but they did offer a wide variety of toys that made us boys drool when we saw the commercials or saw them offered in the annual Sears Catalog Christmas Wishbook.
Here are some of the great works of art featured at this year’s G-FEST!
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to welcome guest writer, and winner of our “Hidden Horror Contest,” Mark Spangler!
Book Review: “The Monster Show”
By Mark Spangler
“All monsters are expressions or symbols of some kind of birth process, however distorted or bizarre.” So says David J. Skal in the opening sentence of chapter ten in his book “The Monster Show” (W.W. Norton & Company). Don’t let the name fool you. Like many a horror film (“I Married A Monster From Outer Space” comes to mind), there’s much more substance lurking behind the exploitative title than the name – or any name – could possibly indicate. The subtitle, “A cultural history of horror” is a much more accurate depiction of what the reader will find in these well-researched and analyzed 432 pages. From a fun-filled exploration of teen-oriented films on the 50’s drive-in circuit to an examination of the role that horror film escapism played in helping to digest the real-life calamities of 20th century war, this book runs the gambit from the terrific terrors of the silver screen to a common-sense analysis of why these motion pictures are not only fun, but of vital importance to the culture. No stop is ignored in this horrific journey and we joyfully ride along with Mr. Skal as he explores the brilliance and tragedy of director Tod Browning’s early film work, the European influence on early-American horror cinema, freakshow biographies, , monster-comedy, and two monster kid classics; “Famous Monsters of Filmland” and Aurora model monster kits (I had the Mummy). We also visit the artistry of make-up professionals throughout the history of the film industry, reflect upon the horror-inspired artwork of Diane Arbus, visit the late and beloved Forrest J. Ackerman in his “Ackermansion”, examine technical tidbits of films old and new and finally end up with the real-life terrors of HIV, the Gulf War and Oprah.
There are so many movie guides out there today that it is really difficult at times to choose which ones we should buy. They range in quality from very good (like Bill Warren’s “Keep Watching The Skies“) to dreadful (like Rob Craig’s “It Came From 1957“) but at least one thing can be said, movies from the 1950’s are getting more coverage than ever. When it comes to movies, my favorites all came from the 1950’s. No other time period has been more prolific when it comes to monster and science fictions films. Though many of these films are now considered classics, there were many stinkers as well. At least most of these stinkers have their own charm and are still fun to watch even today. The book I am reviewing today, “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes: A Front Row Look at the Sci-Fi/Horror Films of the 1950s“, by Mark Thomas McGee and R.J. Robertson, covers these movies in a way not really seen before, which is why I highly recommend it.
I have been reading about this film for some time now, both in Fangoria and HorrorHound magazines. For the most part the reviews have been favorable and I am always up for a new monster movie. This is not your typical monster on the loose film and to be honest, I wish it was. The movie I am talking about is BENEATH, directed by Larry Fessenden.
I hope everyone’s been enjoying Terror Dave Albaugh’s retrospective on ’50s Science fiction films. I know he’s got a lot more in the works and has been doing a great job at highlighting those old classics many of us grew up watching via Creature Features or horror hosted shows. The hope is that the series will either inspire you to watch them again or, if you’re unfamiliar, discover these gems for the very first time.
Today I’d like to spotlight an old sci-fi film too but, unlike the previous entries, one that proves not everything in the fabulous ’50s was stellar. The other night I was scrolling through the latest offerings on Netflix stream when I came across a film I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. The movie is Beast with a Million Eyes but, after I re-watched it, was ready to the curse the two I had!